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Work

The face of nature : for soprano and ensemble

by Elliott Gyger (2009)

Work Overview

The opening movement of The Origin Cycle, setting words from Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. When the natural world is viewed at a distance, it appears orderly, bountiful and even harmonious; but this order and balance is the composite result of countless acts of violence and destruction - like a "yielding surface, with ten thousand sharp wedges packed close together". My musical setting attempts to create an analogous musical metaphor, in a texture which appears to shift perspective between sonorous lushness and percussive, pointillist fragmentation.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: Soprano, flute/piccolo, clarinet/bass clarinet, percussion (1 player), harp, violin, viola, cello.

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Jane Sheldon, Peter Godfrey-Smith with funds provided by Australia Council.. Commissioned as part of The Origin Cycle

First performance: by Jane Sheldon, Firebird Ensemble, Jeffrey Means — 8 Apr 09. Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge MA, USA

Performances of this work

19 Nov 2009: at The Origin Cycle (Australian Museum). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Jane Sheldon, Roland Peelman.

13 Nov 2009: at The Origin Cycle (Peter Karmel Building, ANU School of Music). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Jane Sheldon, Roland Peelman.

8 Apr 09: Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge MA, USA. Featuring Jane Sheldon, Firebird Ensemble, Jeffrey Means.

User reviews

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My favourite Australian art song repertoire

Posted by Australian Music Centre on 22 July, 2013

The AMC asked leading practitioners to select their favourite Australian art song repertoire, to provide delegates to the 2013 International Conference of Vocal Teachers (Brisbane 2013) with an introduction to this rich and diverse landscape.
An exquisite realisation of a fragment of Charles Darwin's text. A thrill to sing, with some deliciously fun birdsong-like passages, and more percussive vocal activity as the perspective shifts in the second half of the piece.
Jane Sheldon